With summer in full swing we are taking a look at where Clemson’s P5 opponents stand for the 2019 season. Over the summer we’ll be conducting Q&As with the SB Nation sites for opposing teams as well as providing our own scouting report. Today we start with Clemson’s, season opener, Georgia Tech. The guys over at From the Rumble Seat are great and Ben was more than willing to answer our questions, their answers are below.
STS: Paul Johnson has finally left, what was the feeling amongst the GT fanbase with his departure and the subsequent move to Geoff Collins?
FTRS: Paul Johnson retiring surprised a lot of people, myself included. A lot of folks were certainly starting to get tired of Paul Johnson and his offense, so I know those folks were ready to move on. As for the rest of us, it took some time, but what Geoff Collins has done in his short time has been nothing short of incredible. He has been able to embrace the city of Atlanta like no other Tech coach has been able to do, and the fan base has been eating it up. I think the biggest thing that fans are happy about is that Tech didn’t hire Ken Whisenhunt, as was widely reported early on in the coaching search. So far, Collins seems to be an incredible fit, and now most folks are just in a wait and see phase until the season starts.
STS: The big thing everyone wants to know is what is GT’s offense going to look like? Coming out of spring practice what are your thoughts?
FTRS: It will certainly be a far cry from Paul Johnson’s option attack, but Tech’s new “pro-style” offense should still be fun to watch. From the spring game, it looks like the new offense will mostly be a spread offense with some air raid influences in it, which seems to be the complete opposite of what Johnson was doing, which is mostly intentional I think. The thing that I’m most excited about is the addition of a tight end. I’ve always been a big fan of the position, and I think that Collins got his hands on a good one in former UConn Huskies TE Tyler Davis. I’m also excited about some of the quarterbacks that Tech has coming in the next couple years. It will be a minute before the offense really gets its footing in my opinion, since it is such a big transition.
STS: On defense how do you think Georgia Tech is going to do this year and what should we expect under new leadership?
FTRS: On defense, I think Tech has a chance to see some improvement. They have a lot of talent in the secondary with Tre Swilling at corner and Juanyeh Thomas and Tariq Carpenter at safety. Geoff Collins is also bringing a more aggressive scheme, so we will finally see Georgia Tech not line its cornerbacks 10 yards off the receiver on EVERY. SINGLE. DOWN. I’m a little concerned about the front seven, though. After the unfortunate passing of Brandon Adams, Tech is now having to replace every starter on the defensive line, and every position is a bit of a question mark now. Tech already didn’t have a much of a pass rush, but now it seems like there is even less of one now. Adding Florida transfer Antonneous Clayton could help alleviate those, but his waiver will have to get approved first.
STS: Overall how did spring practice go for the Yellow Jackets this year? Any surprises, injuries, or other news that will affect the season?
FTRS: This year, spring practice was a lot about teaching new schemes on offense and defense. Thankfully, there were no major injuries. From what I’ve seen the biggest surprises were the true freshmen who enrolled early, specifically slot receiver Ahmarean Brown and Belgian defensive end Sylvain Yondjouen. I fully expect Brown to be the starting guy in the slot come the beginning of the season. As for Yondjouen, he may not start at the beginning of the season, but it will be hard to keep him off the field for too long.
STS: Clemson and Georgia Tech get to open the season, on a Thursday no less, in prime time. This isn’t exactly the best way to break in a new coaching staff and playing philosophy, what are you expecting from the game?
FTRS: I’ve been terrified ever since this game was announced. Even if Paul Johnson were still around, they’d be breaking in a new starting quarterback, Regardless, this game seems like a lost cause. I’ve done a couple other previews with a couple of YouTube shows, and they both asked me how I though this game would go. I’ll tell you the same thing I told them. Clemson is going to win by a lot. I’m hoping after a couple seasons of Collins building that Tech will be able to hang with Clemson in a more competitive fashion.
STS: Finally based on what you’ve seen right now what are your feelings for the upcoming season for Georgia Tech football?
FTRS: I would love to say that Tech is going to win eight or nine games this year, along with a Coastal Division title. I think it’s certainly possible since the Coastal is a bit of a hot mess, but I think Tech will be doing good to be bowl eligible this season.